Ancient History

Ancient Akrotiri Phenomenal Minoan city that lay buried deep beneath volcanic ash from 1613 BC until 1967; on-site archaeologists continue to make discoveries.

Epidavros Catch a starlit performance from the well-worn stone seats at this theatre amid pine-clad hills, where Greek classics were first performed over 2000 years ago.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum Artefacts spanning 5500 years, but most famous for its Minoan collection, including the gob-smacking frescoes from Knossos.

Kos Town Step into the once-impregnable Castle of the Knights, check out 3rd-century-AD mosaics and rest under the plane tree where Hippocrates taught his students.

Moni Hozoviotissis Perhaps not as ancient as some sites but certainly dramatic, this monastery from 1017 clings to a cliff face high above the pounding sea.

Beaches

Elafonisi Turquoise water and long, gentle dunes of pink sand await sun worshippers on Crete's southwest coast.

Lefkada's West Coast Wide stretches of uninterrupted soft sand on a quiet little island – one of Greece's best-kept secrets.

Sithonian Peninsula Head down dirt roads to find hidden coves or stretch on a pretty, sandy bay backed by friendly tavernas and guesthouses.

Loutra Edipsou Take a dip at any time of year from this truly therapeutic beach where the bay is fed by warm, thermal sulphur water.

Santorini Its volcanic past hasn't just left the island with gorgeous sunsets – beautiful beaches of red and black volcanic sand are easily reached and surprisingly quiet.

Regional Cuisine

Ottoman influence The Turkish influence is felt strongly in the kitchens of Thessaloniki and northern Greece, from yiaourtlou (beef kebab on pitta with Greek yoghurt) to patisseries piled high with loukoumi (Turkish delight).

Italian influence The Italians left behind pastas that the Greeks added to their own dishes; try makarounes (pasta with cheese and onions) and visit Corfu Town, where some of the finest homemade pasta is rolled out.

Seafood Harbourside kitchens land everything from mackerel to cuttlefish, squid and sea urchins; have yours grilled, fried, baked or stuffed with cheese and herbs. Fill yourself to the gills at 1500 BC on Santorini.

Wine The islands have a vibrant wine industry with crisp whites made from indigenous grapes, rich dessert wines and heady reds. Sample them in the Iraklio Wine Country on Crete.

Cheese Crafted mainly from goat's and sheep's milk, there's a world of Greek cheese beyond feta: ricotta-like myzithra, provolone-style kaseri and nutty, mild, gruyère-like graviera, best sampled on Naxos or Tinos.

Art

Byzantine iconography This art thrives in galleries around Greece where artists create exquisite, gold-hued creations; check out galleries at Ouranoupoli near Mt Athos, on Patmos and in Rhodes' Old Town.

National Museum of Contemporary Art A hub for the capital's flourishing modern-art scene, this museum hosts regular exhibits in a neighbourhood that's home to numerous art events and galleries.

Art Space An atmospheric gallery housed in the wine caverns of one of Santorini’s oldest vineyards. Showing some of the country’s top current artists, it’s one of Greece’s largest art galleries.

Museum of Islamic Art Be mesmerised by over 8000 pieces at one of the world's most significant collections of Islamic art, from tiles to carvings and prayer rugs.

Fish & Olive Tucked in the heart of Naxos, this gallery showcases the ceramic wizardry of local artists Katharina Bolesch and Alexander Reichardt, whose work has found its way to galleries in Helsinki and New York.

Walking

Crete’s gorges Hikers flock to the spectacular Samaria Gorge, but its nearby cousins, the slender Imbros Gorge and lush Agia Irini Gorge, are equally breathtaking and less crowded.

Mt Olympus Follow trails from ancient times up thickly forested slopes towards the cloud-covered peak, once the lair of the Ancient Greek pantheon.

Pelion Peninsula Follow donkey trails that zigzag over rolling hills to quiet, sandy coves and quaint villages.

Homer’s Ithaki Visit the homeland of Odysseus, hiking through dramatic island scenery and past archaeological sites.

Skopelos Wander deep into cool pine forests, through olive groves and clifftop plum and almond orchards.